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Rediff.com  » Sports » Serie A: AC Milan close in on Juventus

Serie A: AC Milan close in on Juventus

May 03, 2012 11:25 IST

AC Milan moved to within a point of Juventus at the top of Serie A on Wednesday after the defending champions beat Atalanta 2-0 and a Gianluigi Buffon error gifted lowly Lecce a 1-1 draw in Turin.

Hosts Milan beat in-form Atalanta thanks to a ninth-minute goal from Sulley Muntari and Robinho's injury-time strike to close the gap with two matches remaining.

AC Milan's Sulley Muntari (left) and teammate Kevin-Prince Boateng break into a jig after the former scored against Atalanta during their Serie A match on WednesdayJuve could have wrapped up the title if results had gone their way and were looking good for three points almost from the very start of their match with third-bottom Lecce.

They took the lead after eight minutes through Claudio Marchisio and dominated the play, creating several chances that went begging.

It looked like the win would be theirs until Buffon miscontrolled the ball under no pressure, giving it straight to Andrea Bertolacci who slotted into an open goal five minutes from time.

Lecce, who had Juan Guillermo Cuadrado sent off on 54 minutes, are three behind Genoa in safety after their relegation rivals beat Cagliari 2-1 in a match held behind closed doors in Brescia because of previous fan trouble.

Milan next face Inter Milan on Sunday in what promises to be a huge derby with the Nerazzurri fighting for a place in the Champions League. Juve take on Cagliari in a game being played in Trieste because of problems at the Sardinians' stadium.

Inter slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Parma, missing the chance to go level on points with third-placed Napoli and Udinese, who beat relegated bottom side Cesena 1-0.

Third spot is worth a place in the Champions League playoffs while fourth this term is only good enough for the Europa League.

Lazio, two behind Napoli and Udinese but a point above Inter, only managed a 1-1 draw at home to Siena who secured their Serie A status for next term.

Fiorentina took a big step towards safety by coming from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at home with Novara, who were relegated to Serie B as a result after just a season in the top flight.

Home coach Delio Rossi physically attacked Adem Ljajic - one of his own players - in the dugout during the game after a row over a substitution.

Catania's slim hope of European football were ended by a 1-0 defeat at home to Bologna.

Photograph: Alessandro Garofalo / Reuters

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